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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1996 Week 6 Hansard (23 May) . . Page.. 1683 ..

MR STEFANIAK: I thank the member for the question. Ms McRae should be aware - I would be amazed if she were not - that, as I said a couple of times earlier this year in this house, the ministerial advisory committee is looking at the very difficult question of declining enrolments, because we want to avoid future situations such as that at Charnwood High School, where the enrolments slipped from over 600 down to about 240 over a period of some six years. We want to look at all the reasons for that. The issue of capping - a very vexed issue which has strong proponents and strong opponents - is being looked at by the ministerial advisory committee. That committee, I understand, will be giving me an interim report next month. The issue of declining enrolments in certain areas of Canberra is a very important issue. Capping is certainly one of the issues the committee is looking at.

MS McRAE: I ask a supplementary question. As a result of that answer, Mr Stefaniak, could you now explain what process of consultation will be undertaken with parents? I understand that the committee is looking at it, but what process of consultation will be undertaken with parents in regard to this issue?

MR STEFANIAK: In relation to the issue of declining enrolments - and certainly that includes the issue of capping - I have asked the committee to consult far and wide to obtain the views of parents. The views of parents of students in the latter years of their schooling are absolutely crucial in relation to the question of declining enrolments and the issue of capping. I have asked that the consultation be very full consultation so that the views of all relevant people in the system can be considered. I understand that the committee has taken that on board and is addressing and will be further addressing the issues, because it is crucially important that we have full consultation on issues such as this.

Ainslie Village

MR HIRD: Mr Speaker, Mr Stefaniak is very popular today. My question is to the Minister for Housing, Mr Stefaniak. Minister, I am aware that the demolition of the final barracks-style accommodation at Ainslie Village got under away on Monday last. Can you tell the parliament the type of accommodation which will be built in its place and whether current residents will be disadvantaged during the rebuilding process? Also, will crisis accommodation that is offered at the village currently be available during the time of this reconstruction?

MR STEFANIAK: I thank the member for the question. Mr Speaker, the redevelopment project at Ainslie Village involves the replacement of some five very substandard dormitory-style buildings with six blocks of group housing. As members may be aware, the remaining old dormitory-style accommodation dates back to the end of World War II. It was actually built in 1947. Successive reports have indicated that it is a fire hazard; that it is totally substandard. In 1986 the ACT Fire Brigade warned that the complex posed a major fire hazard, and the 1984 report on homelessness, "A Capital Problem", recommended that the village should be demolished so that new public housing could be constructed.

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